With more coronavirus patients hospitalized in Frederick County since late April, Frederick Health Hospital tightened its visitation policy this week.
Under the hospital’s new rules, only one visitor is allowed at a time for patients. Previously, two visitors were allowed.
Those visiting non-coronavirus patients may rotate throughout the day, so long as only one person is at the patient’s bedside at a time. Only one visitor is allowed per day for coronavirus patients, with no exchanges permitted, according to hospital officials.
Visitors also now must be 16 years or older, although exceptions may be made for end-of-life situations. This age limit, which previously did not exist, will help ensure that visitors will be able to navigate the hospital and follow safety measures — including masking, hand hygiene and physical distancing — on their own, Frederick Health spokeswoman Kelsey Shupe wrote in an email.
Changes to the hospital’s visitation policy were made because of the county’s rising coronavirus case rate, Shupe explained.
“It is always our intention to remain as flexible as possible to our patients and their loved ones, while also ensuring a safe health care environment for all,” she wrote.
The seven-day positivity rate in Frederick County was 6.33 percent on Thursday, higher than the state’s overall rate of 4.89 percent. The county added 63 new cases to its tally but no new deaths. After going without additional deaths from the virus for two weeks, the county has reported two coronavirus-related deaths this week.
As of Wednesday, 31 people were hospitalized because of COVID-19 in the county. Seven were being treated in the intensive care unit.